Interns get helping hand from Eastern Cape DEDEAT

NOVEMBER 30, 2016

The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) launched a workplace readiness skills programme for interns which will include getting a driver’s license, preparation for a job interview and improved computer literacy.

Each year, the Department employs about 14 interns in various units, mostly located at the King William’s Town offices.

The Department introduced the programme after consultation with its leadership and the interns who were about to exit the programme.

“The programme, which has been in the making for the past six months, was endorsed by the Department’s senior leadership which included the MEC,” says the Head of Department Bongani Gxilishe.

“We wanted to help our interns to be ready for the next phase of their career.  It was clear from our discussions with our current interns that they needed further skills and we were able to help provide these.  What was also clear was that acquiring a driver’s license was a top priority,” he explains.

The three-month programme will include attendance of Coega’s driver programme, access to career expos, preparation for job interviews and improved computer literacy which will include Powerpoint and Excel.

The Coega IDZ, which has run its drivers’ programme for over eight years, will assist the Department with helping interns to successful graduate with a driver’s license. The training is provided free of charge.  However, interns are responsible for payment of fees with the Traffic Department for tests and issuing of licenses.

The workplace skills readiness programme forms part of the Department human resources plan for its 611 employees whom it employs throughout the province in its economic development and environmental management units.

According to the latest annual report, the Department’s 281 full-time employees also received training which included skills programmes and other short courses.

The report says that during the same year, the Department also supported its employees to the tune of over R1 million through its bursary scheme.

MEC for the Department Sakhumzi Somyo explains that “it is part of the Department’s legacy to intervene so that people can now be in better place than before.  We want to restore a sense of hope in our people”.

Former intern and now the Department’s energy development analyst Zenande Nombakuse says DEDEAT’s work readiness programme has cultivated his “strong desire to succeed, professionalism and perseverance”.  

Nombakuse, who holds a honours degree in geology, was part of the Department’s drive to attract highly specialised interns in niche areas such as nuclear energy.

Opportunities which the Department provided to Nombakuse included access to support from specialist energy advisors with the German agency GIZ in South Africa as well as attending a training programme with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation.

Image: file photo